Gin and Olive, Albert Road, Southsea | Restaurant review
This week’s restaurant review is a little different – it has a romantic twist.Dish Detective was lucky enough to take a date to Gin & Olive in Albert Road, Southsea.
Opened in 2015, the bar and restaurant is a perfect venue for a date. The dining area is small enough to create an intimate atmosphere, but not so small as to feel claustrophobic.
The surroundings are cosy, with soft lighting and unpretentious industrial décor featuring exposed brickwork and a wall full of machinery cogs.
As you would hope from a venue with gin in the title, there are more than 60 on offer, ranging from the Spencerfield Edinburgh Raspberry Gin at 20 per cent, to the Sipsmith VJOP at 57.7 per cent.
All the gins are ordered by categories, including dry, spicy, citrus, fruity, and floral.
The restaurant does an impressive range of cocktails that include the Gin Star (obviously gin-based), the Fantasio (also gin-based), and the Singapore Sling (including cherry brandy – and gin).
Of course, Dish Detective chooses a lemonade and his date chooses a white wine spritzer.
'Are we being a bit basic?' my date asks.
We decide that we are, but feel it is important to choose what we want, rather than be swayed by the venue’s strengths.
To start, we choose the Casual Sharer (£16), which is a deceptive name.
What arrives is so much food it is more suitable for sharing on a double date.
There are three types of bread, six types of cheese, red onion chutney, as well as spiced nuts and olives.
Before we are even halfway through the starter, a table of 19 is filled by diners celebrating a birthday.
The waitress asks us if we would like to choose our mains before the larger table, so we won’t be kept waiting by the kitchen processing 19 different orders.
Both my date and I agree this is good, attentive service. Our mains arrive within 10 minutes of ordering, and we have been eating for at least 20 minutes before the larger table is served.
I order the Chicken Burger (£14), which comes with barbecue mayo, lettuce, and tomato in a brioche bun, served with skinny fries. Sadly, the burger falls victim to the common problem of the weak bun – the brioche falls apart after I pick it up to take a bite.
I resort to using a knife and fork to finish the burger.
However, it is very tasty, with the barbecue mayo a strong point.
My date orders the Grilled Chicken Salad (£14), which comes with five fillets of chicken and three portions of bread.
My date takes one look at it and says: 'I'm not going to finish this.'
Another example of the good service comes at the end of the meal, with our sharer board remaining on the table relatively untouched.
After checking that the food is okay, the waitress asks if we would like to take the leftovers home with us, but we decline.
This is no judgment on the food – there is a good selection on the sharer board, and it could easily serve as enough food to share throughout a long evening or lunch with a bottle of wine.
My date sums up the meal by saying: 'I really appreciate how they told us we should order before the larger table.
‘The food was good, and there was so much of it. It was a lovely meal – it was just a shame about the company.'
Dish Detective is happy to report the last comment was meant as a joke and all I will say is that my date should be thankful my reviewing skills don't stretch to comedy. Will I get a second date? We’ll have to wait and see...